By Constance Butterfly
Review on the Royal Ballet’s evening performance at Shanghai Grand Theatre, July 5th, 2014
Copyright (2014). All Rights Reserved.
Setting aside the weight and décor of the days of yore, “magnificence” is a word far too earthly to describe the innate energy that the Royal Ballet projects. Carlos Acosta’s production of Don Quixote strongly accentuated the Royal Ballet as a steady carrier of quintessential excellence. On July 5th, 2014, enchanted dancers of the Royal Ballet whirled into intricate yet uniform formations, whilst creating a translucent halo of artistic greatness.
Apart from the thundering applause and deafening cheers of the audience, this particularly outstanding evening performance firmly underscored Mr. Acosta’s talent and vision as a ballet choreographer. Mr. Acosta’s revisions on Alexander Gorsky’s staging of Don Quixote didn’t necessarily undermine the magnitude of this ballet classic; as sensible it might seem, Mr. Acosta’s adjustments greatly amplified the splendor of this masterpiece. While other Don Quixote productions only generated superficial sensations of Spanish flair, Mr. Acosta’s version created rich Spanish essence that permeated the production from head to toe. The inclusion of the vibrant toreador cheers in Act One and musical flamenco guitarists in Act Two successfully spiced up the stage atmosphere.
The production started off with Don Quixote, played by William Tuckett, an unworldly aristocrat enamored with the ethereal and imaginary Dulcinea. Smitten, the old nobleman danced an airy and gentle duet with his made-believe ladylove. Even when he encountered numerous obstacles during his chivalrous adventures, his love for Dulcinea persisted.
In Acosta’s production, Don Quixote’s love for Dulcinea was a chain that linked all the key scenes in the ballet together. Throughout the entire production, Kristen McNally as Dulcinea made few and brief appearances on stage, yet her presence served as a constant reminder for the audience that it was the love for Dulcinea that kept Don Quixote going. Unlike other ballet productions that placed a lot of emphasis on detailing the blossoming romance between Basilio and Kitri, Carlos Acosta’s production paid significant attention on key details, such as the gradually growing windmill at the gypsy encampment and the abnormally large flowers in the dryad garden to symbolize Don Quixote’s surreal state of mind.
Though Acosta’s Don Quixote illuminated eminence as a whole, this production was nevertheless a rich showcase of a variety of talents. Sancho Panza, Gamache and Lorenzo’s performance provided sufficient comical relief for the stage. Marianela Nunez’s Kitri and Dulcinea were equally outstanding. Her breezy leaps and steady pirouettes completely won the audience over. Even when not dancing, Marianela strode and glanced in a manner that sparkled life and passion. On the other hand, Matthew Golding’s Basilio was the perfect complement to Marianela’s Kitri; he jeted with such ease that swept Kitri off her feet.
In addition, the performances of certain supporting characters were remarkable as well. Kitri’s two adorable companions whirled like birds gliding on water. Espada and the flamenco dancer’s duets were filled with chemistry. The dryad queen, graceful and regal as ever, was a lovely figure. Dainty and sweet, the dryads danced in delightful unison and vivacity that the fairy world seemed to come to life, while Cupid hopped and bounced like a beam of light shining across the stage. As these engaging characters appeared and interacted on stage, the energy levels they possess reacted and constituted appealing transformations. For example, Marianela Nunez, in stark contrast with her sassiness and flirtatiousness in Act One, swayed with considerable poise and picturesque finesse during the Act Three wedding pas de deux. And Ryoichi Hirano, who decisively ended his coquettish behaviors, concentrated only on catching up with the rhythm of his flamenco lover.
Amongst all the amazing components, the only minor flaw of this production was the omitting of the three people dance done by Basilio and Kitri’s friends in Act One. Although Mr. Acosta replaced the trio with a group dance performed by four ragged town boys, the replacement wasn’t exactly grand enough to heighten feelings of anticipation.
Overall, this production was an exquisite exhibition of gifted Royal Ballet dancers. Since the year of its establishment, the Royal Ballet never ceased to attract, amaze and awe the world with its adept, artistic and audacious dancers. As we bid farewell to the departing Royal Ballet, we heartedly wish the dancers good luck on their trip and hope for more Royal Ballet performance tours in the future.
True beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.Monseiur Butterfly
I am considering it… just trying to find the right profile pic :)
Thank you so much :) for your rich knowledge on russian names :)
I watched Carlos Acosta’s version of Don Quixote in Shanghai Grand Theatre, performed by artists of the Royal Ballet :D
The July 5th performance was epic!!!!! JUST EPIC!!! Totally in love with Marianela Nunez, Matthew Golding and Carlos Acosta right now!!!!!